Coram Voice has today (19 January 2021) published the report ‘Always Heard 2020’. It details information on the work done in the last year by Always Heard, the national advocacy advice helpline and safety net service for children in and leaving care in England, as well as the barriers to advocacy faced by children and young people.
Coram Voice delivers this vital service on behalf of the Department for Education. Always Heard is the only national service that provides the ‘no child turned away’ advocacy guarantee. Every young person who contacts us looking for advocacy gets an advocate.
The coronavirus pandemic made 2020 an extraordinary and challenging year for everyone and disrupted the lives of children and young people and those who work to support them. However, it is still the case that too many children and young people are denied the local independent advocacy support they need and are entitled to.
In 2020, Always Heard:
- Provided 15900 information and advice sessions online or via our helpline service increasing understanding of young people’s rights.
- Supported 700 young people to be provided with intensive Safety Net advocacy when no one else would help.
- Signposted 8500 advice contacts or referrals to local young people’s advocacy services.
We also work to change the systemic barriers to accessing advocacy. We share the voice and experience of young people who face barriers to advocacy with their local authorities. We support and challenge local authorities to put in place the advocacy service their young people are entitled to. We also share information about barriers to advocacy with the Department for Education, Ofsted and the Children’s Commissioner to help them address these.
Among the barriers to advocacy for children and young people in 2020 were:
- At least 37% of local advocacy services are unable to provide interpreters for young people who are refugees or migrants.
- 57% of local advocacy services don’t provide freephone access.
- At least 37%of advocacy services do not offer advocacy support to the full age range of children in care and care leavers (0-25).
Read the Full Report